...when a word decides to get up and leave your holy book?
...when you’re a mayor and your city is literally crumbling around you?
...when the evil Haman, villain of the Purim story, seems to have arisen from the dead to terrorize your town?
Eliezer ben-Avraham, wizard, Kabbalist, and kvetch, not only can but must help. Because he poked around in areas of forbidden knowledge, he is obliged to wander the world and use the powers he gained to perform good deeds—mitzvot—for anybody who asks, no matter how bizarre the task. Ably assisted by his trusty but cynical steed, Melech, Eliezer does what he can, although transforming into a bird and flying around is difficult when you have arthritis in your shoulder.
Eliezer’s adventures as he makes his rounds demonstrate how important it is to be generous with your gifts, even to the craziest goyim.
Allan Weiss was born in Montreal and lives in Toronto, where he teaches English and Humanities at York University. He has published over two dozen short stories, both mainstream and genre, in various periodicals and anthologies, including Fiddlehead, Prairie Fire, Windsor Review, On Spec, and Tesseracts 4, 7, and 9. His story collection Living Room appeared in 2001.
This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.
“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project
In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.